At the start of my freshman year of high school, I was ready to change peoples minds on eating meat and drinking milk. I was a spunky head of red hair, mismatched clothes, far too many cheap plastic bracelets, and a mind to change the animal agriculture industry. I would without second thought let people know there was pus in their milk at the lunch table. I presented my persuasive essay in English class that exposed the gruesome conditions of factory farms, pictures and all. I would even go as far to say that if you ate animals then you couldn’t deem yourself as an animal lover and like the rest, I didn’t keep that opinion quiet. One could describe me as passionate while another may have described me as condescending and overbearing.
Today I am a nutritional coach. I am the woman who is no longer choosing a dietary category, but rather, finding a balance between my nutritional needs, animal welfare, and the health of the planet. I am now the woman who sees others dietary choices as an opportunity to educate and introduce them to the idea of a plant based diet by meeting them with humor and a good natured attitude, instead of hostility, even if they make the same joke that every 40+ man does about “those hippies.” Today I’m the woman that believes that healthy is the new skinny.
Most days I’m vegetarian, some days I’m pescatarian, another day I might be a lacto-ovo vegetarian, but above all else, if I absolutely had to define my dietary choices I would say I’m a conscious consumer. My idea of health and true vitality nowadays is less about the shame catalyzed constructs and radicalized ideals of some diets and more about the soul driving forces behind food. I want to know the conditions, the standards, moral practices, and ethical principles of the people I get my food from. If they aren’t transparent trustworthy people that I know and can look in the eye, then I won’t buy from them. After all, you wouldn’t go to a doctor you don’t trust, so why would you go to a farmer you don’t trust? I like to think of our farmers as our first line of defense in the healthcare system because food is medicine after all.
Living consciously may be different for every one. My idea of it is fishing with my boyfriend and also killing, gutting, and preparing the fish myself while thanking it for the sustenance it provides us. My boyfriend is an avid hunter, who feeds himself and our cats and dog on venison and soon to be some small game all year long. I have the phone number of the woman who I get my goats milk from that I make into goat cheese. I have laying hens who I brought from Utah to Colorado and finally Idaho that bathe lazily in my garden eating leftover food scraps, and get told everyday that I love them (yes I am the crazy chicken lady.) I pick fruit off the trees in my back yard and grew tons of veggies that were frozen and canned in hopes of lasting all year long. Some would say I’m trying to live off grid, a hippie, a mountain woman. But honestly, one of the most empowering things is to be able to provide the necessities of life for myself and for the ones I love and in the meantime greatly reducing my carbon footprint. At the end of the day I just want to change the world.